Review: Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake
(Warner Brothers)

Despite great reviews, “Anthem” left me thinking “It’s okay but nothing spectacular”. LTJ clings to their pop/punk/ska roots while experimenting with timing during several songs. Most notable is the fact that they’ve slowed things down a bit. The fact that every song isn’t a frenetic race from beginning to end of every tune is a nice change and you can understand the lyrics. On the other hand, the songs start to sound the same.

Then a completely different track pops in to break up the monotony. The more reggae beat that shows up here and there is interesting, especially on “The Science Of Selling Yourself Short”. Readily recognizable as LTJ songs, “Best Wishes To Your Black Lung” and “That’s Why They Call It A Union” show up, along with the radio and MTV friendly “She’s Gonna Break Soon”. Of course that particular song has been played to death by both, which relegates it to the “PLEASE, don’t play that song again!” department for most people.

The most impressive track is the cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”. The punk treatment LTJ brings to this song, with abrupt guitar licks, vocal harmonies and full instrumentals, makes it sound like it was written for them. Overall it’s a pretty good album, but Less Than Jake fans will enjoy it the most.